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Snowpiercer
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Snowpiercer More at IMDbPro »

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174 out of 263 people found the following review useful:

Plot holes galore

5/10
Author: mikkepost from Oslo, Norway
22 March 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The only reason I am writing a review right now, is because of how stunned I am at most of the user reviews. While its good that you enjoyed the movie, I am surprised at how most people here are overlooking some of the pretty terrible choices. I will be going through what I thought worked, and what kept me from enjoying the movie. Needless to say; MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD.

The good: I like the plot, for the most part. Although I find the idea of a train being humanity last home extremely weird, it makes for a nice backdrop. The tone of the movie reminds me a lot of The Hunger Games. Chris Evans does pretty good. The wagons themselves have amazing character. The Art Director should be praised the most out of the entire film crew.

The bad: Well, let me sum it up in questions. Questions keeping me from loving this: 1. Why divide the train into classes? This makes no sense. The train ecosystem would function fine with some rules regarding population control.

2. Their great plan is to have a regular uprising to kill off people and keeping the population down? WHAT? See my first point.

3. They used to eat people and babies, but are now disgusted by eating protein bars made by cockroaches? How does that work? And furthermore:

4: WHERE did all those bloody cockroaches come from?

5: If you've invented perpetual motion; why the hell use it in a train? Why not use it to power a generator in a camp, or heat a underground city? The train is death on tracks, with ice regularly blocking the path.

6: Why is everyone on this train ready to kill? Seriously, 90% of EVERYONE is ready to throw down here.

7: People take loosing their limbs SHOCKINGLY well in this movie. Like it's just a flesh wound, really.

8: What the hell happened with that one bad guy who got stabbed through his guts and choked? He just gets up? Why did the korean guy stop his girl from stabbing him? And the korean girl later misses him by 7-8 shots? Furthermore: Tilda Swinton gets a knife through the leg, but walks fine right afterwards.

9: Those weird antics of the characters. The woman in the yellow dress licking her blood off her fingers. Tilda Swinton with her strange comedic performance (although I did like the character, I found it a bit distracting), that incredibly weird Korean couple acting all over the place, things like the masked guy just smiling at Evans when they are sitting down. Sometimes I felt like I was watching Charlie and the chocolate factory.

10: The starved people of the tail takes out an army of axe wielding fighters with night vision? After apparently yelling for help through the entire train, and a kid lighting a torch, and running up to them in no time? Stretching it thin, movie!

11: The soldiers had bullets, but they weren't using them at the ONE PLACE they needed bullets? Are you serious??

12: The shootout between Chris Evans and what I can only assume was Terminator. On opposite sides of the train, probably 1000ft from each other. Sniping with a submachine gun. Through a blizzard. Nice aim there, fellas.

13: Mr. Terminator shooting his comrades all the time. Seriously. What was to be gained from that? He did it several times. Who is this guy??

14: The only way the train can function is to stuff small kids down small holes to keep the engine running? Really? Was the train designed to stuff small kids down there, or did it just appear to be the perfect solution? How convenient.

15: The wagon closest to the engine is the RAVE-CLUB where all the freaks go to party? Incidentally, the elementary school is next to the slaughterhouse.

16: There is no policy on drugs on this finely tuned train? Everyone just goes buck wild with this incredibly potent drug next to the engine room? And furthermore...

17: The drug of choice is basically C4? And it just lies around everywhere - again - next to the engine room?

18: Why not pay attention to what the korean guy is doing to open the doors and then open them themselves instead of having him slow them down?

19: The people with axes putting fish blood on their weapons before fighting? That was random.

20: The other wagons are TOTALLY unaffected by the explosion in the first wagons. Wow. They don't really notice until they derail. What a masterfully crafted train.

21: I know it fits with his story, but did Mr. Evans really need to sacrifice his arm to pull that kid out? He could probably stop the machine with something else than a limb and take better care of that child.

22: The people who jumped off the train still haven't been covered up by snow after 15 years in a never-ending blizzard?

Those were some of the things that stopped me from loving this movie. It just got too dumb. There was definitely something here, and I feel this could have become an excellent movie with more thought put into it. It came off extremely unrealistic. And in sci-fi, it's all about fooling the audience into thinking it could have happened. That's the "science" part.

All in all though - probably an entertaining movie if you'e not a nitpicker like me. Thankfully a lot of you aren't :)

EDIT: Someone corrected me in that the couple were korean, and that one of the bad guys never takes a bullet, like I thought he did. Sorry about that, but it still seems far fetched.

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169 out of 255 people found the following review useful:

1984, Animal Farm, and now Snowpiercer.

10/10
Author: s-aitken88
17 August 2013

Absolutely amazing. A cinematic microcosm of society. For those of you uninterested in topics like '1984' and 'Animal Farm', watch this film for a hazard course in understanding the human condition. From start to end you see a small-scale depiction of society from it's most basic 'proletariat' level, right up to the elite, in perfect order. And we see the evolution of civilisation from simple beginnings to science, education, quality, luxury, then hedonism, wastefulness and eventual demise, in exactly that order.

All of that can be overlooked, however, if you're just the average movie-goer who simply wants a good story with a hero, an adventure and an end goal. In which case I say the film is a good one but nothing special in that respect. Certainly there were parts where I thought, "eh?", until it clicked later that it was all part of the Director's greater cinematic design.

But for the arty film student types, this film is sure to be the topic of many, many essays for years to come.

Clearly every part of the film was deliberate - every shot, every line of script, every item in the background. It was true art. None of that quick-buck profit-incentive Hollywood stuff.

In conclusion I recommend this film to everyone, particularly people who want to learn something or gain some insight from what they watch. For the everyday movie-lover, go into this with an open mind and have a really long think about how you can compare it to the world today.

Top stuff, 10/10

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49 out of 72 people found the following review useful:

There are to many; "What?!" moments

3/10
Author: ole-kris-lan from Levanger, Norway
28 March 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I actually like this genre of film, but this was a lousy attempt from this studio. In my opinion there simply are to many things we as viewers are expected to go along with. Without any explanation. Don't agree with me? I will give you some examples then (MAJOR SPOILERS);

1. Why did they need to eat each other at the start of their trip, and then suddenly this protein bar-machine appeared. It seems hard to accept that the magnificent Wilford would make this train with room for this low-class people, but with no way to feed them. And how did they make this bug-protein-bar machine while traveling at such speeds?

2. Having this class-system and using riots as a way to kill some of the population, seems a very cruel and inefficient way to keep the trains population regulated. And not to mention risky, after all this "grand plan" is what sets in motion the events that lead to the trains demise. There are tons of other option that history has shown is better ways to handle situations like this. And what about just plain simple birth regulations?

3. What does the engine run on? Hopes and dreams? explain please. Nuff said.

4. How those no part of the railway the train runs on gets destroyed or needs fixing during this 18 year long train ride? In an such extreme climate some part of the rails are bound to be somewhat damaged.

5. At the end of the movie they step outside and into the cold "harsh" weather. And let me just tell you. We call that summer in Norway, not an apocalyptic freezing weather. There truly need to be some better way to deal with the problem of this "extreme" weather. (and yes i know it was the middle of the day and the weather was nice, and maybe its worse at other times and blah blah, but still, doesn't seam to make sense.)'

6. The peoples behavior wasn't believable either. First of all, we need to remember that it was an closed environment, and people in the different classes all knew each other. And when after 18 years on this train some of the upper-class people see these dirty, bloody and new faces, they don't seem to give one single f**k. Not one single one of them. And why did Curtis choose to destroy the engine, the only thing that was keeping all the people on the train alive, to temporarily save one kid? He basically doomed the whole train, including the child he just saved. (And don't get me started on how he did it, jeezez.)

The list of these "What?!" moments just goes on and on and on. Some are short and brief, but others (like the examples i have given) are major movie-enjoyment-destroying. The sum of all these moments just leaves you with an bad feeling when you are finished watching the film.

BUT, the movie ain't all bad. This fictional setting of the film, makes for a type of film that is enjoyable. But often it boils down to; Are you able to believe the case that the film presents, or do you find it just to unrealistic to bear with. At the end of the movie, where all was revealed, the "mind blown"-moment. I just sat there with to many questions and a big "what?!"- expression. And not the "I-just-got-my- - head-exploded-"What?!", but the what just happened "what". And that the reasons why all this things had happened was the general premise of population control, wasn't mind blowing material, if you ask me.

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98 out of 173 people found the following review useful:

Metropolis of the new century

9/10
Author: kowloonzai from France
3 November 2013

No spoilers here !

Remember Metropolis, the great silent film by Fritz Lang, and probably the most revered science-fiction film of all times ? Well, if Snowpiercer is not such an absolute masterpiece, I do believe it's the best reiteration of the same concept that made Lang's film so unique : asking questions about the condition of mankind in a futuristic society, and how it does and does not evolve as compared with current times.

It's good that not all near-blockbuster scale sci-fi movies do not come out of Hollywood anymore. Snowpiercer is based on a long-forgotten 70's French graphic novel. The Korean director got his hands on a bootleg translation in a Seoul bookshop while filming The Host and got totally hooked. The end product is a French-Korean production, in the making of which one of the authors of the original graphic novel got directly involved.

The plot is simple : ecologist freaks have pushed governments to unleash a gas in the atmosphere to control global warming, this proved so effective that the world is now a standalone, snow-covered giant ice cap. The only survivors are all aboard a revolutionary train that goes on and on making loops around the world. It's like Noah's Ark, but including the politics that come with it : first class, second class, workers, fraudsters, the ticket is your fate - for generations. And the consequences are extreme, to such and extent that you can't conceive. Prepare to be shocked at times. Imagine the vertical multistoreyed humanity of Lang's Metropolis, the horizontal way. Some of the tail section fraudsters decide to rebel against their condition and progress to the head car of the train regardless of the risks. Every car they go through bears its grotesque and mind-bending surprises. And tells us more about how this society actually works and what it relies on.

This film has style. Even though it reminds of Gilliam (see 12 monkeys) and Matsumoto (Galaxy Express), there is real personality and originality. CGI is limited to a few breathtaking scenes that really add up to the storyline. Acting is mostly excellent, especially by Ed Harris and John Hurt. But most importantly, this film triggers reflection, soul-searching and debate like true Sci-Fi gems should. Unlike most Hollywood movies, it is not Manichaean : the story and morals are complex and debatable. You heart keeps swinging for scene to scene as you learn more. The ending asks a lot of questions.

All in all, when the end credits start rolling, it's a film you want to rewatch, not because you haven't understood, but because you want to understand more, and experience more.

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30 out of 44 people found the following review useful:

Lame, ridiculous and illogical

3/10
Author: Darren Petts from United Kingdom
31 March 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Very disappointed would be a good summation for this film especially considering it's early rating here. Once the review process has exhausted the fans and people who haven't seen or heard of the comic are reviewing it I expect it'll fall like a stone.

The major flaws as I see them (spoiler alert!). The whole concept of a train being the last salvation of mankind on a frozen planet is just beyond belief. Where does the train stop for servicing to it's undercarriage etc. without any stations? Who maintains the track? An engine that runs on magic as much as anything! Why not make it nuclear or at least something believable. If you were to set up a society in a closed environment why wouldn't everyone have a purpose with controlled breeding rather than be lugging around many people with no contribution to the whole. Why would you engineer a rebellion to control population? There are many better ways. Why would you expect some rebel to want your top job doing things your way? The very word rebel suggests that a change of system is wanted.

Major flaws aside there are other issues with the film. The characters are not believable. They belong in the comic it's based on. Nobody has made any effort to translate them to film or realised that some adjustments are even necessary. Film requires a different approach and nobody who made this film understands that. A great example of how to do it right is Dredd. This is a great example of how to do it wrong. The film tries to open up great philosophical issues but fails to do so due to the setting they are working in, ie a comic book. You continuously think that none of this is real and so pay no attention to the great moral dilemmas they are trying to foist on you. It's akin to being lectured by a 10 year old.

On top of the major flaws there are many minor ones. I'll just give the one example of the hero of the piece stuffing his arm in a moving machine to save one child (didn't bother to look for anything better suited to the task such as a steel bar) whilst then dooming that child to death with everyone-else.

The one redeeming quality of the film is it's well made. It's not remotely enough to save it from being a turkey though.

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54 out of 92 people found the following review useful:

A Crazy Parable

9/10
Author: chestburster from phiadelphia
24 March 2014

First I want to say that this is one of the best (and entertaining as hell!) social commentary films I've seen since Terry Gilliam's Brazil and Paul Verhoeven's Robocop.

Yes there are a lot of plot points that don't make much sense if looked at from the perspective of our "reality."

But this film does NOT aim to be "realistic." In fact, I'd say the goal of the director is to make it as "surrealistic" as possible.

And I applaud him to be so successful in that: in many moments during the film, I felt I was experiencing a fevered dream of a fried fish. -- That's how insane this film is.

It takes great genius to present something as insane as the plot of Snowpiercer.

This film will be remembered, analyzed and revered for a long, long time.

The icing on the cake is that the social commentary content is actually intriguing. The film is decent enough to leave enough ambiguity so that the audiences can make their own conclusions.

9 out of 10.

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105 out of 198 people found the following review useful:

About as believable as the Total Recall remake...

5/10
Author: Rob Taylor (Rob_Taylor) from London
23 March 2014

Okay, so I get this movie had some things to say about class and privilege and the lengths people will go to in extremis. However, in wanting to tell a story that makes points, you simply cannot ignore common sense and physics in order to produce your setting.

In Snowpiercer, the world has frozen due to scientists meddling with the climate in order to stop global warming. This I can buy, given the explanation at the very start of the movie.

What I can't buy into, however, is the fact that all of what is left of humanity is crammed onto a single, gigantic train, that runs in a year-long loop around much of the world.

For one thing, the creator of the train has, apparently, invented a perpetual motion machine. Never mind the impossibility of this, let's just think about it for a moment. A machine that runs forever and, presumably, produces more output than it requires to run it. So he puts it in a train? Give me the proverbial effing break! An engine such as that would easily power a small community which could then produce more such engines and so on... until there is plenty of power to keep the world running.

But, I guess a train allows for the video-game like linearity of the story's progression, so to hell with common sense, right? There are plenty of plot holes to mention as well.

The disgust shown by Chris Evans' character when he learns that the protein bars they've been eating for years are made of insects. I was expecting him to open the container and find dead bodies being churned into food, a la Soylent Green, but it was just bugs. You know... insects, those things that a considerable part of the world consider a part of their diet without issue. This unexplainable disgust is compounded later when Evans reveals his character actually used to eat people in the early days. What Chris? Eating people is less disgusting than bugs! Say it ain't so! Another stupidity is the length of the train. We see a good number of train carriages during the hero's journey, but there are far, far more when you see the ludicrous corner scene, where the train goes around a long bend just so that good guys and bad guys can shoot at each other across a huge gulf. But the bad guy was only about three carriages behind the good guy? Terrible continuity for the sake of a pointless action scene.

We also see chicken and other animal carcasses hanging from hooks in a cold car, but nowhere do our heroes ever come across the live animals that they must have somewhere in order to provide the meat.

It's also supposed to be so cold outside that flesh freezes solid in a matter of minutes, yet at the end, all that is needed to offset this absolute zero effect is a fur coat. (Apparently they also have furry animals somewhere on the train too...) In short, this movie is so full of holes. Some so big you could drive a train through.

As I said at the beginning, by all means use sci-fi to tell a story, but don't make the setting so ridiculous that it invites scrutiny. And if you do, then be prepared for people to point the flaws out.

This film had a number of things to say, but the setting and plot holes detract heavily from it, leaving you frowning at the foolishness of it all.

SUMMARY: Setting invented by a small child. Plot has more holes than a sieve. Unrealistic fantasy marred by incompetent attention to detail. Try it at your peril!

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92 out of 177 people found the following review useful:

Piercing through your minds and hearts

10/10
Author: hojeongma from Seoul
3 August 2013

Just watched Snowpiercer yesterday and it simply blew me away leaving me numb and dumbfounded. I was pleasantly surprised by the movie's extremely ambitious, visually stunning and richly satisfying futuristic story that reflects the various aspects of our society from within. The director's use of numerous allegories not only adds that little "oomph" to the film but it puts your mind in a thrilling roller-coaster ride, leaving you constantly pondering about the meaning of 'justice' and its respective costs. Snowpiercer provides a great enjoyment that pierces through your mind and imaginations. Big applause to Director Bong and his crews in delivering such thought provoking, breathtaking enjoyment. Thank you

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14 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

The train ride from hell: no stops, no upgrades

3/10
Author: shea765 from United States
1 April 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Third class on a train never felt so bad. No private rooms or showers, and just one item on the menu. Don't even think about filing a complaint with the conductor's black-clad goon squad; they don't take kindly to dissent. But that's not the worst of it: you'll never get off this train, since it comprises the only habitable environment left on earth after global warming countermeasures triggered a new ice age.

While the setting of Bong Joon-ho's film incorporates a few original ideas, much will seem familiar to the post-apocalyptic film audience. Society is divided between the first class minority, with their fine tailors and cocktail parties, and the downtrodden masses, with little more than the rags on their backs they can call their own. Of course, revolution is in order, but the plan for regicide will require a trip down the length of the train, with a few bloody battles and the discovery of what life is really like "on the other side" filling in the remainder of the story.

Class struggle is naturally the topic of so many sci-fi films, from classics like "Fahrenheit 451" and "1984" to contemporary derivatives such as "District 9" and "Elysium." So taking up such a topic is a little like opening a hamburger joint -- you really have to do it well, and ideally provide your own twist, to have any hope of impressing your clients.

Unfortunately "Snowpiercer" follows the tried-and-true formulas a little too closely to inspire, and it's hard not to feel like we've been served a Big Mac of a film. There are caricatures, not characters: the hero who doubts himself, the naive sidekick who worships his idol, the wise octogenarian guiding the flock. There are even a couple of video-game references thrown in for the kids in the forms of a martial arts expert and the "boss" who comes back from the dead. We share in the characters' wonder about the extravagant lives of passengers in the front cars, but little else drives the plot. The script reads like something written by a non-native speaker, quite honestly, and, as with other films that aspire to the demands of an international box office, the writers settle for brevity, simplicity, and imitation where tactfulness and originality were called for.

I didn't see Chris Evans in "Captain America," but I imagine that your appraisal of his acting in that movie might go a long way in determining whether you like his role in this one. In my mind, Evans does little more in "Snowpiercer" than dutifully recite his lines and chop down some bad guys, but judging from box office returns these days, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

For those who want to step outside the boundaries of Hollywood, I heartily recommend you skip this film in favor of Bong's earlier Korean works, especially "Barking Dogs Never Bite," "Memories of Murder," and "Mother." Those films are wonderfully crafted windows onto Korean society that touch upon real divides between class and generation instead of the roughly hewn metaphors we endure in "Snowpiercer."

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30 out of 54 people found the following review useful:

Exploring Humanity

9/10
Author: Mek Torres from Los Banos, Laguna, Philippines
29 January 2014

We are recently getting blockbusters that tries to make allegories out of Sci-Fi high concepts about society's lack of equality between rich and poor. Not all of them worked since most of them just used the subject as a petty background and lets the technical wizardry do much of the work, which ends with a silly insincere sentiment. Snowpiercer might do the same as 2013's Elysium or Upside Down did, but this is an ambitious picture that takes the idea seriously. It doesn't let the special effects or the action take over the experience and instead gives away the pain and humanity of the world's living dystopia. Snowpiercer is often cold (no pun intended) and satirical, yet downright affecting with lots of intriguing ideas wandered around.

It may feature a train and it is mainly about a revolution attacking against law enforcers and powerful men, but the scenes when it focuses on the characters are actually the greatest strength here. While it acknowledges their suffering and longing, it takes a lot of time to express about what they've been through. And those small scenes of humanity simply makes it remarkable. The film benefits by its actors. Chris Evans is always a great leading hero, and he brings enough impact to the character Curtis. His co-stars, such as Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, John Hurt, and Kang-ho Song, also bring lively personalities on their roles. And much energetic and fun performance from Tilda Swinton as the maniacal villain.

It becomes a little bit clunky when it hits to the middle act. This is when the characters are just passing through from room to room. Once again, the titular world of a concept didn't get a deep exposition despite of its intriguing features and interesting caricatured social commentaries. At least the production made the internal Snowpiercer train look fascinating. The action scenes are fine, if not messy. There are inventive battle scenes to be found here and there. However the direction's best way to deliver tension is by taking time to breathe in its dark moments of upcoming merciless violence; easily better than the knife wielding, bullets flying battles. The special effects are cool (no pun intended) enough to keep things large and stunning.

Snowpiercer is honestly a fresh experience for a Sci-Fi blockbuster. The genre tends to just blow things up, but here it rather brings more soul than extreme panache. The film looks really good, but there are more interesting things to think about other than the technical stuff. The contents and the themes are the core here, if only they could explore more of the train, but for now the characters' feelings is the epic ride, fighting off the dark side of humanity. Despite of some missed opportunities, its rare quality is already enough to make it recommendable. Because there are bigger things in movies than just visual effects.

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